Previous Posts: October 2023

Elizabethan 'Cuckold' Portrait Realises £400,000

October 4 2023

Image of Elizabethan 'Cuckold' Portrait Realises £400,000

Picture: Drewaetts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the auction house Drewaetts this morning that the following Elizabethan portrait realised a substantial £400,000 hammer over its £10,000 - 15,000 estimate in the Robert Kime (Day 1) sale. Although this is a particularly beautiful and evocative image, which has been interpreted as depicting the son of or of a cuckhold (read the catalogue note for more), this is quite an impressive price for a portrait of its kind, not to mention of an unknown sitter by an unknown artist.*

* Maybe there are plans afoot to identify both in due course!

Delacroix's 'The Death of Sardanapalus' Restored

October 4 2023

Image of Delacroix's 'The Death of Sardanapalus' Restored

Picture: Louvre, Paris

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The European press, and many devotees to art and beauty on social media, have been sharing the news and details of the Louvre's freshly restored The Death of Sardanapalus by Delacroix. It seems that the transformation of this has been particularly striking (click here to compare the image above to its previous state), with many beautifully preserved painterly details found throughout.

Of particular excitement is news that the artist's iconic Liberty Leading the People will be the next large scale work to undergo conservation, a process which is excepted to be completed in Spring 2024.

Frans Hals at the National Gallery

October 4 2023

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery's latest Frans Hals exhibition opened last week. The Guardian's less than favourable review has subsequently been counteracted by others in The Observer and The New York Times respectively. I haven't been to see it yet, however, I have been handed a copy of the exhibition catalogue which looks very promising indeed. Not only is it organised in comprehensive and beautiful way, the publication suggests that the curators have taken a bold approach to attribution (a problem which follows Hals scholarship to the present day). One such example is the inclusion of a portrait which was sold as 'School of Haarlem, circa 1615' at Sotheby's New York in 2021, doubted by both Seymour Slive and Claus Grimm (see Literature in the link), which has now been given to Frans Hals in full.

However, one of the most fascinating pieces of original research is the discovery of 'a hidden monster and skull' in the famous Chatsworth portrait, which appears to have been covered by 'later overpaint'. The gallery have produced the following video which explains the whole story.

Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich

October 4 2023

Image of Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Warburg Institute in London and the Association for Art History are hosting a free online talk later this month. Curatorial Conversation - The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich will feature a ronudtable disucssion with curators Allison Goudie and Imogen Tedbury in conversation with Bill Sherman (Warburg Institute Director) and Gregory Perry (CEO, Association for Art History). 

According to the blurb on the institute's website:

For almost 20 years in the late 17th century the Queen’s House at Greenwich was the studio address of the marine painters Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son, Willem the Younger. Although the building itself bears little trace of the Van de Veldes’ presence, in the 20th century the Queen’s House once again became a home for their work, as the dedicated art gallery of the National Maritime Museum, custodian of the world’s largest collection of works by the Van de Veldes. Spanning scores of oil and pen paintings, a tapestry and some 1,500 drawings, the collection is unique in what it can tell us about how a 17th-century artist’s studio functioned. The physical evidence provided by this collection proved invaluable for the evocation of the Van de Velde studio that forms a centrepiece of the current exhibition, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea, marking 350 years since the Van de Veldes moved to England from the Dutch Republic. Showcasing major conservation projects on important works in the Greenwich collection that have their origin point in the Queen’s House studio, and notwithstanding a select number very generous loans, the exhibition was also a pragmatic solution to some of the challenges facing museums as they emerged from Covid: how to make an event out of a permanent collection.

This online event will take place on Zoom on 17th October 2024. Attendance is free, although registration is required.

£10m pair of Canalettos coming up at Christie's in December

October 3 2023

Image of £10m pair of Canalettos coming up at Christie's in December


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Eagle eyed watchers of the Arts Council's Items for Sale page (a must for any follower of the big Old Master auctions) might have spotted this very beautiful pair of Canalettos which have been announced for sale at Christie's London in December 2023. The pair, which have been in a private collection since 1939, will carry an impressive estimate of £10,000,000.

More news regarding the other items on the Art Council's website in due course.

Burlington Magazine - October 2023

October 3 2023

Image of Burlington Magazine - October 2023


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The front page of October's edition of The Burlington Magazine focuses on the rediscovery of a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi in the Royal Collection (mentioned in a post below), and contains a fine extended piece on the research behind this extraordinary reappearance.

Alongside the Artemisia text are the following articles in October's edition:

A new attribution to Giovanni Bellini: the ‘Virgin and Child’ in Pag - BY BEATRICE TANZI

Rediscovered drawings by Bartolomeo Spani for sculpture and goldsmithery - BY MARCELLO CALOGERO

Girodet’s ‘Coriolanus taking leave of his family’ rediscovered - BY AARON WILE

Paolo Portoghesi (1931–2023) - BY ANDREW HOPKINS

John Newman (1936–2023) - BY SIMON BRADLEY

The National Trust buy back a Kauffman in a No Reserve sale!

October 2 2023

Image of The National Trust buy back a Kauffman in a No Reserve sale!


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news that The National Trust have acquired Angelica Kauffman's Penelope awakened by Euryclea with the news of Ulysses' Return in Christie's New York's May 'REMASTERED: OLD MASTERS FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA - SELLING WITHOUT RESERVE.' The painting, which eventually sold for $214,200 over its estimate $150,000 – 250,000, has been bought back for Stourhead, the country house of the Hoare family who sold the artwork back in 1883.

The BBC linked article above quotes the National Trust cultural heritage curator Stephen Ponder:

He said it was "a rare opportunity to acquire the painting for public benefit and return it for display and interpretation".

"With so little time available, I hardly dared hope that we might be able to find the funding and make a successful bid to bring the painting back to Stourhead," he added.

Mr Ponder said seeing it for the first time was "a very exciting moment" and "one of the highlights of his career".

This seems to be a rare and good example of how UK cultural and heritage organisations can be nimble footed when it comes to raising money to purchase works at auction, rather than through dealers at a later date (with added premiums on top, quite often).

Discover the Rare and Unknown in 17th Century Dutch Art with Koetser Gallery

October 2 2023

Image of Discover the Rare and Unknown in 17th Century Dutch Art with Koetser Gallery


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) have published a short video with the Koester Gallery, Zurich, regarding a charming Adriaen Coorte still life the dealers had on their stand at Maastricht earlier this year. The video is a part of  TEFAF’s Meet the Experts series, which I'll continue to post as and when they are put online.

Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

October 2 2023

Image of Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

Picture: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For anyone passing Birmingham this weekend, the Pre-Raphaelite Society is hosting its Founder's Day Lecture on Saturday 7th October. This free lecture will be about the female artist Emma Sandys: The Drama of Womanhood and will be delivered by Dr. Serena Trowbridge.

According to the blurb on the society's website:

Emma, sister of the more famous Frederick, is rarely the focus of study, but her portraits of women from literature, myth and history offer a way into considering her approach to Pre-Raphaelite painting. The women Sandys depicted seen to resist a conventional interpretation, their eyes evading the viewer not through modesty but disinterest or preoccupation, their expressions often enigmatic or even challenging. In many of her painting, Sandys offers covert clues to her women's identity (an issue often further confused by the different titles used for the works), using symbolism, setting and facial expression. This illustrated lecture offers new readings of some of her paintings, and a look at some rarely-seen works by Sandys.

Dr. Serena Trowbridge is Chair of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, Senior Vice-President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and Reader in Victorian Literature at Birmingham City University. She has published widely on Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, and is currently working on 'Forgotten Women Pre-Raphaelites' (university of Delaware Press, 2024) and 'Pre-Raphaelite Women's Writing' (Routledge, 2025).

Although the lecture is free to attend, booking is essential.

Turning Heads at KMSKA

October 2 2023

Image of Turning Heads at KMSKA


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) will soon be opening their first major exhibition since the museum's reopening. TURNING HEADS BRUEGEL, RUBENS AND REMBRANDT will be a celebration of head studies and has been organised in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland.

According to the museum's website:

Interest in the tronie, the old Dutch word for ‘face’ surged in the 17th century, when artists like Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer poured their talent into painting the human face. The results are often small, but stunningly painted, drawn or engraved: intimate works that bring us closer to the artist than ever. Never before has the genre been covered so comprehensively. Turning Heads at the KMSKA brings together no fewer than 76 of the most eloquent masterpieces from Belgian and international collections.

The show will open on 20 October 2023 and close on 21 January 2024.

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